Fatal Incident Underscores the Need for Active-Shooter Training, Awareness

Posted May 23, 2024 at 4:24 pm



A shooting that left two dead and three wounded at a laundry facility near Philadelphia led to expressions of support from members of the linen, uniform and facility services industry, and provided confirmation of the importance of active-shooter training and awareness to ensure the safety of employees.

TRSA staff reached out to the owner of the laundry in Chester, PA, just 18 miles south of Philadelphia, to offer help in the hours immediately after the incident, and later conveyed members’ sentiments.

The incident took place at Delaware County Linen at 8:30 a.m. on May 22. The shooter fled the scene, but was apprehended shortly thereafter at a traffic stop, according to Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer. As of this writing, the shooter’s name had not been released, and the specific motive remained unknown. Earlier statements confirmed that the shooter was a former employee. Click here to read the Associated Press report.

The tragedy prompted TRSA to make members-only website resources related to the issue available at no cost to nonmembers as well. These include articles and webinars on workplace violence and active shooters.  Click here for more information on active-shooter training, resolving workplace conflicts and ways to mitigate workplace bullying and violence.

“This tragedy is a reminder that disasters can happen suddenly and at any given day or time,” said TRSA President & CEO Joseph Ricci. In addition to the aforementioned articles, TRSA’s Recommended Professional Practices for Disaster Planning enables you to review your company’s disaster-management plan and associated employee training.

Oscar Villanueva, the COO at TAL Global, a security-consulting and risk-management firm based in Campbell, CA, outlined for TRSA several signs that indicate an employee may be likely to resort to violence against co-workers or managers. These include:

  • Past or frequent history of violent behavior
  • Frequent mention of or known obsession with weapons in conjunction with other warning signs on the list
  • Changes in behavior, angry, agitated and/or confrontational
  • Behavior consistent with mental illness and/or violence
  • Talk of suicide or harming self
  • A belief that they are being persecuted
  • If your gut instinct tells you that something is not right about a person or situation

If an incident escalates to workplace violence, Villanueva recommends using the “Prepare-React-Recover” (PRR) method to deal with an active-shooter event. The Prepare-React-Recover framework involves:

  • Preparing for the possibility that an active-shooter event might happen and having a plan should it occur.
  • Understanding how to react best if an incident is imminent or already underway.
  • Developing ways to recover and return to normal business operations after an incident.

“PRR is not incident-driven but focuses on preparedness, timely reaction and recovery,” Villanueva said.

Key components of the Prepare-React-Recover program that organizations need to consider include:

Prepare

  • Understanding the risk and what to expect.
  • Assessing the preparedness of your organization, and working to improve preparedness if gaps are identified.
  • Conducting security assessments in all facilities to identify physical security deficiencies and opportunities to correct them, such as access control, escape routes, lock up and hide areas, etc.

React

  • Identify the hazard and/or threats: Where is the attack coming from? What direction is the attack coming from? and Who is involved in the attack?
  • Implement evacuation and/or lockdown procedures, if appropriate.
  • Notify all employees promptly.

Recover

  • Provide prompt behavioral health support to all affected in order to assist in recovery.
  • Document the incident and conduct an investigation to gather facts. Consider conducting a pre-litigation investigation.
  • Properly manage communications, both internally and externally.

For more information on Prepare-React-Recover, visit www.talglobal.com. Questions? Villanueva can be reached at ovillanueva@talglobal.net.

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